Tracks

Using tracks to learn choral parts may be useful, but tracks should properly be understood to be a crutch of last resort. The most effective methods–in priority order–are the following:

  1. Sing your part with solfeggio! For those who have this skill, solfege is the refiner’s fire. Your conductors use solfege to learn their scores.
  2. Sing your part with an understanding of the key and intervals! Good readers use intervalic intelligence, key relationships along with other techniques.
  3. Play your part on the piano! The piano is a great tool–again, for those who have the skills. While playing your part on the piano quickly produces pitches/rhythms/harmonies, the pianist may not hear perceptively if the piano is used merely as a memory device. Playing while considering intervals, key relationships, and solfege will produce great results.
  4. Use Tracks to learn your part. Using tracks has become a popular method, especially for singers who are not trained in solfege or piano. Since it relies heavily on musical memory, it is the poorest method if you are looking for deep musical understanding and growth. It is a quick fix.
  5. Listen to performance recordings! While this is the least beneficial activity to learn your part, it is a great way to grasp the whole work. But be warned, recordings often display poor tempi, wrong pitches, bad intonation and other errors which you must guard against.

Of course you may benefit from using a combination of these techniques, especially items 1/2/3/5.

Martin: Mass, download the free MuseScore application (Mac & PC), then open the files you have been sent via email.

Magnificat by C. V. Stanford